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Voluntary Work

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the financial value to the NHS of the voluntary work performed by (a) the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and (b) the National League of Hospital Friends in the last three years for which figures are available. [24575]

Mr. Hutton: Information is not collected by the Department in the form requested.

It was recently reported in "Voluntary Sector" magazine that the Women's Royal Voluntary Service estimates that the organisation's 100,000 plus volunteers gave around 12 million hours to helping others which they value at about £70 million during the 12 month period from 2000 to 2001. During that time volunteers delivered 9 million hot and frozen meals, opened five new and refurbished hospital trading outlets and assisted at 70 emergencies and disasters.

The National Association of Hospital and Community Friends have advised that in their latest survey, conducted in 1999, Leagues of Hospital and Community Friends had 36,000 members who actively volunteered and contributed 8 million hours a year to the national health service. The survey also found that the leagues gift back £36 million per year to NHS hospitals. In addition to running traditional volunteer services such as shops, visiting and transport the leagues have increased their work in the community, both therapeutic and social support, and this now accounts for 40 per cent. of volunteers' activities.

The very significant contribution made to the health service and social services by volunteers from the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and the National Association of Hospital and Community Friends complement the efforts of staff and enhance the patient and service user experience.

Cross-border Treatment

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many English NHS patients were treated in Scotland in each of the last five years. [24572]

Mr. Hutton: Information on English residents treated in Scotland is collected by the information and statistics division of National Health Service Scotland. Information on the number of English residents receiving treatment in NHS hospitals in Scotland as either outpatients or as inpatients and day cases is shown in the table.

Information on English residents treated in a primary care setting in Scotland is limited. Over the past five years, on average, there have been around 2,200 patients who reside in England on the lists of Scottish general practitioners. These patients may or may not have attended their GP for a consultation in that time. The average number of face to face consultations per head of population per annum in Scotland is 3.2.

English residents(24) treated in NHS hospitals in Scotland

Year ending 31 March First outpatient appointments(25),(27)Inpatients and day cases(26),(27)
19982,0497,048
19992,4287,432
20002,1856,991
20012,1416,578
2002 (to date)(28)1,3193,750

(24) Includes a small number of residents in Wales and Northern Ireland.

(25) First outpatient appointments in consultant-led clinics (SMR00). Excludes A&E and genito-urinary medicine. Information on return outpatient appointments is not collected centrally by area of residence.

(26) Discharges from acute specialties (SMR01), maternity specialties (SMR02), mental health specialties (SMR04), neonatal care for sick babies (SMR11) and long stay facilities in the specialty of geriatric medicine (SMR50). The majority (92 per cent.) of discharges are from acute specialties.

(27) All information shown is based on "episodes" of care rather than individual patients. A patient with more than one episode of care in any year or across years will be counted every time they receive an episode of care.

(28) Records held centrally at 20 December 2001. It is estimated that available figures for year ending March 2002 represent approximately 60 per cent. of total activity for the year.

Source:

ISD Scotland, Scottish Morbidity Records (SMRs) 00, 01, 02, 04, 11 and 50.

Reference:

Acute Care Information Group, 20011414.


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Congestion Charges

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has made about the exemption of health visitors from congestion charges in London. [24584]

Mr. Hutton: While supportive of the need to reduce congestion in central London and the resultant benefits to Londoners' health, a number of concerns have been raised with the mayor and Transport for London regarding the impact the congestion charging scheme will have on the ability of the NHS to provide high quality patient care.

The London Regional Office of the Department has been working closely with Transport for London on developing a reimbursement scheme for a number of categories of staff, including health visitors and staff providing community based services, so that they are not disadvantaged in any way. The scheme is currently out for consultation until the 18 January 2002.

Nurses

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimates he has made of the number of whole time equivalent nurses who will be performing non-clinical duties with (a) the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, (b) the Commission for Health Improvement and (c) the NHS Modernisation Agency. [24598]

Mr. Hutton: The National Institute for Clinical Excellence, the Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) and the National Health Service Modernisation Agency are responsible for improvements in quality across the NHS. Nurses are employed within these agencies to provide the frontline perspective and to influence development.

Numbers are subject to change but there are currently two nurses employed in the National Institute for Clinical Excellence, 149 nurses employed in CHI and 51 in the Modernisation Agency.

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Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many specialist TB nurses were employed (a) in the NHS and (b) in each health authority in London by the NHS in (i) 1997 and (ii) 2001. [24448]

Mr. Hutton: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to ensure school nurses are paid at F grade. [24592]

Mr. Hutton: Nurses employed in the national health service under national terms and conditions are graded according to the clinical grading definitions agreed between the management and staff sides of the Nursing and Midwifery Negotiating Council in 1988.

Decisions concerning grading of individual posts including those of school nurses are the responsibility of local managers who, with advice from professional colleagues are in the best position to consider the work to be done and the skills needed to do it. The clinical grading definitions reflect the different levels of responsibility and clinical expertise required in different posts. It is for local employers using the agreed definitions and in the light of particular job content to grade posts according to responsibilities.

In the advance letter promulgating the pay award for 2001–02 employers were reminded of their obligations to ensure all jobs are graded in accordance with the existing grading guidance.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if school nurses are defined by his Department as autonomous practitioners. [24593]

Mr. Hutton: Professional standards are a matter for the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting.

General Practitioners

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what financial assistance he has planned to encourage flexible training in general practice. [24596]

Mr. Hutton: In line with Government guidance, "The General Practitioner Registrar Scheme: Vocational Training for General Medical Practice: the United Kingdom Guide", a copy of which is in the Library. Directors of Postgraduate GP Education will facilitate flexible (i.e. part-time) training for general practice wherever possible. In order to be accepted for general practice certification purposes, flexible training must be undertaken, week by week, at 60 per cent. or more of the weekly full-time training commitment and include a period (minimum one week) of full-time training in both the general practice and hospital components.

Pathology Modernisation Programme

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health on what basis the authorities invited to bid for the phase III pathology modernisation programme were selected. [24447]

Mr. Hutton: Through our pathology modernisation programme, the Department is considering the appropriate model for pathology services in the light of "Shifting the

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Balance of Power" and the proposed changes to national health service structures under the NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill. Therefore, the aim of pathology modernisation funding in 2001–02 is to support up to four larger reconfiguration projects exploring the development of managed clinical networks in NHS pathology services, covering a population of 1.5 million. This year it was essential to support areas that were already advanced in planning for modernised pathology services. It was clear from existing work on the programme that 12 areas met this criterion, and they were invited to bid through a limited tender exercise.


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